Montecito Water District: Ready for Recycled Water Projects

(Montecito, California, September 21, 2018)

Montecito Water District’s Strategic Planning Committee met September 20th to review the eagerly awaited draft Recycled Water Feasibility Study (Study) and discuss feasible projects. Woodard & Curran was hired to conduct the Study, half of which was funded by a grant awarded to the District by the State Water Resources Control Board. Rob Morrow, Woodard & Curran gave a presentation to Directors Richard Shaikewitz and Floyd Wicks, and District Staff including General Manager Nick Turner and Engineering Manager Adam Kanold. Representing the Montecito Sanitary District at the meeting were Board Directors Robert Williams and Warner Owens, and Engineering Manager Carrie Poytress. Members of the public also attended the meeting, including candidates running for seats on both the Water District and Sanitary Boards this November.

Wastewater is the source of recycled water, making collaboration with a wastewater entity—such as Montecito Sanitary District—essential for implementing any recycled water project. Nick Turner, General Manager for the Montecito Water District, commented favorably on current relations with Montecito Sanitary District, saying “We are all working together in support of this. The Sanitary District recently passed a resolution regarding their commitment to Recycled Water, I have attended their last two Board meetings, and you can see their presence here today. It’s happening. “

The District’s Urban Water Management Plan identifies Recycled Water as a long term local reliable supply and commits the District to add 1,000 acre feet of this essential source to its annual water portfolio by 2025. Contracting the Study was a vital step in moving from discussions about Recycled Water to creating an actionable plan.

The Study evaluated nearly 30 possibilities, identifying quantity, source, and project type. The three project types include Non-Potable Reuse (NPR) recycled water produced for end uses such as irrigation, Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) which involves injecting recycled water into the groundwater aquifer and later extracting that water from a separate location, and Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) treating wastewater for direct delivery through pipes and treatment plants. Considerations for prioritizing a short list are factors such as cost, customer commitment, public acceptance, regulatory risk, potable water source to be offset, implementation flexibility and timeline, and integration with other future District water plans. For example, DPR currently lacks approved regulations in the State of California, making NPR and IPR projects more certain and timely, and these may be implemented with consideration of phases that could provide initially for NPR and/or IPR and DPR in the future.

The audience was highly engaged in the presentation, while the committee asked for several items in the Study to be clarified or further addressed. The draft report is expected to go before the Board at its November 20th meeting. The calendar, agendas, and packets for all Board meetings can be found on the District web site:

Montecito Water District's mission is to provide an adequate and reliable supply of high quality water to the residents of Montecito and Summerland, at the most reasonable cost. In carrying out this mission, the District places particular emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, conducting its operations in an environmentally sensitive manner, and working cooperatively with other agencies. For additional information visit, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.